Lodge was a big loser, at first
We had a blowup in the front lobby of the hotel, and he wanted to have a fistfight right then and there.
“John, I haven’t had a fight in over 25 years, and if I started now, I would knock the daylights out of you,” I told him. “But rather than that, I’m going over to the construction trailer and call your boss, Al Cohen, and have you removed from the project.”
Unfortunately Cohen dismissed Starsovitch over the phone instead of asking him to come into Denver for a meeting, which made Starsovitch even more irate. For several days, he stayed in the area with a gun, threatening to kill me. I owe thanks to Pete Seibert when he appointed Bob Mayne, who was in charge of lift construction, and Ben High to be my bodyguards. Every day they were with me, and in the evenings, Starsovitch would walk around the house yelling obscenities. After about a week, he disappeared, and I don’t think anyone heard from him again.
Incidentally, The Lodge was completed on time and the first dinner was held in its dining room the night the resort opened – Dec. 15, 1962. About 60 people were in attendance, the paint was still wet on the white walls, and the help was as green as green could be.
After cocktails at 6:30, everyone sat down to dinner. They were startled when a novice waiter came to the table, clicked his heels in German fashion, and announced, “Attention – the entry is coming.”
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It might be hard to believe today, but ties and coats were requested as the dress of the evening. In fact, a few guests were turned away because they were wearing sweaters (today that’s considered “mountain casual” or “chic”). My, how times have changed.
The Lodge lost more than $100,000 each year for five years. It was referred to as the white elephant of Vail. It was sold in 1967 to Ross Davis and then managed by the Broadmoor Hotel in Colorado Springs.
Editor’s Note: In a continued effort to help the community understand its roots, the Vail Daily for a second time is serializing Dick Hauserman’s “The Inventors of Vail.” This is the 28th installment, an excerpt from chapter 5, “Creating a Plan to Make it Work.” The book is available at Verbatim Booksellers, The Bookworm of Edwards, Pepi’s Sports, Gorsuch Ltd. and The Rucksack, as well as other retailers throughout the valley. Hauserman can be contacted by phone at 926-2895 or by mail at P.O. Box 1410, Edwards CO, 81632.